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Is It Time to Add a Calendar to Your Site?

People lead busy lives and calendars are seemingly easy ways to help keep you on track. The problem is, many people tend to put everything on their calendar and then try to manage what's there. What impact would adding an events calendar to your site have?

Calendars, especially online calendars, create a high expectation for timeliness and accuracy. They also provide a nice overview of your organization's activities and opportunities to connect. But, they can also be high maintenance items. We'll examine a few options for modules and an approach that may work for you.
The Reasons

Big Rocks

Many of you have heard this, but perhaps some of you have not, and it bears repeating...

Everyone has the same amount of time in a day - 24 hours. You can certainly cram a lot of stuff into a day, but is it the right stuff? Here's the conclusion at the end of The Big Rocks demonstration:

The point is, no matter how full your schedule is, if you try really hard you can always fit some more things in it!"

"No," the speaker replied, that's not the point. The truth this illustration teaches us is: If you don't put the big rocks in first, you'll never get them in at all.

What are the 'big rocks' in your life -- time with your loved ones, your faith, your education, your dreams, a worthy cause, teaching or mentoring others? Remember to put these BIG ROCKS in first or you'll never get them in at all." So, tonight, or in the morning, when you are reflecting on this short story, ask yourself this question: What are the 'big rocks' in my life? Then, put those in your jar first. "

What does this have to do with an events calendar for your site? Well, as you all know, your ministry's calendar can have lots of events on it and all of them are significant enough to earn a place on that calendar. As we have said before, though, not everything belongs on your web site.

You also know that event schedules change - an particular event may move to another day, or another time, or be canceled completely. Every time that happens, your calendar must be updated. Putting an event in your online calendar is a commitment to your viewers to keep that information accurate. If your online calendar is your only calendar, this is a small matter. But, if like many churches, you have an internal calendar you use for space management, or making appointments with staff members, or publishing calendars in print newsletters or weekly announcements, keeping those calendars in synch adds extra work. You may also have a workflow that needs to be followed before a particular event makes it to the official calendar. Coordinating all of that with an online version of your official calendar can create a lot of stress.

My recommendation - start with the Big Rocks, things are are most likely to be of interest to everyone and are, in most cases, unmovable. Worship services, confirmation classes and church year festivals fall into this category. If your church also follows a lectionary, like the Revised Common Lectionary or Book of Common Prayer, those things can also server as sources of events for your online calendar.

If you are using your online calendar as your official calendar, then put everything your calendar. But, consider what events will be publicly viewable and which ones won't. You may need access controls for categories and viewing and also for publishing events. Spend some time documenting your uses and processes for maintaining your official calendar and how that might work with an online version. Another important discussion to have and it should probably be one of the first discussions you have about including a calendar on your site is - 'How will having an online calendar serve our ministries?' Avoid discussions about how to adapt your ministries to use an online calendar.


  1. The Reasons
  2. The Modules
  3. The Methods
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